Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

October 7, 2013

Tesla ~ Into The Now

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Style: hard rock
Label: Sanctuary
Year: 2004
Home: California

Members: Jeff Keith ~ vocals
Frank Hannon ~ guitars/keyboards/b. vocals
Tommy Skeoch ~ guitars/b. vocals
Brian Wheat ~ bass
Troy Luccketta ~ drums

Additional: Section Quartet ~ strings
Michael Rosen ~ loops

Some albums really aren't meant for dissecting ... just for enjoying. This is one of them & I am positive you will enjoy it & I recommend you take up that challenge ... even considering that the riffs are somewhat by the book & thus predictable, but being a mix of older styles & newer bands (i.e. title track) fused in a cool mesh that just rocks with the best of what has come before yet never sounding nostalgic. At the same time the flash of the older styles is replaced by the heaviness of more contemporary styles, bringing together the best of both worlds. The lyrics are sung very well as always from Tesla, but aren't always the most interesting. They are sometimes a bit too cute for their own good (i.e. "Mighty Mouse"), but no worse than so many of the bland 80's cock rock lyrics that are the roots of these current lyrical endeavors. This album won't go down in the history books as breaking new musical territory, but somehow through the haze of its imitative quality it comes out shining as everything one wants a hard rock/metal album to be - straight on gutsy music with great playing & singing & songs that you remember after the fact & are distinctive from one another & an album you'd recommend to friends happily, while you keep it rotating around your own player day after day without getting tired of it. Don't dissect it, just rock out to it. When it comes to comeback albums Tesla did it right six years after their break-up following the grunge hurricane that wiped them & their peers off the map. Like many of their peers, Dokken also spring to mind as doing the same thing, they dumped the flash of the 80's & replaced it with some of the gutsiest music of their career with lots of grooves but without all the shallow sexual raunch. Many probably consider Tesla a one hit wonder due to their acoustic cover of "Signs" from their acoustic live album Five Man Acoustical Jam that pre-dates MTV Unplugged & when acoustic guitars were reserved for power ballads or song intros. Though, this hit overshadowed four great studio albums of 80's rock with far more blues & a bit of country swagger than any other band was doing ... which is probably why Tesla never broke through to the top as they aren't your typical group & difficult to place for a record label that wants everything by the book & perfectly sitting in the box. They were also wearing jeans when everyone else was wearing spandex. Tesla is one of the many bands that deserve a second listen & opinion & Into The Now might be a good starting place for that. Proof is in the fact that this album debuted at number 30 on the Billboard charts. The secret, like every Tesla album, is how the album sneaks up on you with underplayed grooves & maybe not always inspired but certainly well-crafted songwriting. You'll be hooked into the songs' varied textures before you even realize it & it'll sound like a welcome addition to your music collection versus so many of the band's peers that tried for big flashy comebacks with too much 'we're back & we're wonderful' spirit.

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